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Amazon to Investors: The Sky's the Limit
April 11, 2014
Amazon has released its annual letter to shareholders, revealing a smattering of tidbits about what's happening in the company now and what's in store for the future. The running theme throughout the letter is innovation. The entire company innovates with the customer in mind, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos wrote, touching on its ethos of failing early while inventing and iterating to perfect a project.
Icahn, eBay Kiss and Make Up - for Now
April 11, 2014
eBay and corporate raider Carl Icahn on Thursday ended their months-long acrimonious battle with metaphorical hugs and kisses. eBay's board accepted an Icahn nominee -- CVS Caremark Chairman David Dorman -- as one of its 10 independent directors, and the disputants sang each other's praises. "Extremely pleased about agreement," Icahn tweeted. "Believe it's a win-win for all shareholders."
Consumers Can't Stanch Heartbleeding
April 11, 2014
Consumers can do little to protect themselves from the catastrophic Heartbleed bug. "Catastrophic is the right word," wrote security guru Bruce Schneier in his blog this week. "On the scale of 1 to 10, this is an 11." Heartbleed is an extension of the SSL/TLS protocol used to encrypt data in transit on the Internet. Heartbleed is used to keep a secure connection alive.
France Bans Mobile Phones During Cabinet Sessions
April 10, 2014
French President Francois Hollande has imposed a ban on mobile phones during cabinet sessions, forcing ministers to leave their devices at the door. The move is designed to help "focus on what we must do," a spokesperson said, and will ensure that government folk "talk and listen to what is said and will no longer be able to tap away at this magnificent tool."
Car-Tippers Rage Against the Machine
April 10, 2014
While Smart cars may be good for the environment and financially beneficial to owners, those benefits are wiped out when a gang of vandals tips one over. A group of as many as eight people dressed in black tipped over four of the cars in a San Francisco residential area this week. One of the cars was upended onto its rear, one was on its roof, and the others were on their sides.
Agency: 'Cuban Twitter' Meant to Help, Not Incite
April 09, 2014
Rajiv Shah, the administrator of AID, defended a Twitter-esque social media site created by the agency, saying it was an attempt to nurture communication on the island -- not, as has been claimed, a way to collect data and incite a revolt. Appearing before the Senate and House appropriations subcommittees, Shah said the "programs are part of our mission to promote open communications."
Courtroom Drama: Hollywood Sues Megaupload
April 08, 2014
Six Hollywood studios have banded together in a copyright infringement lawsuit against Megaupload, the wildly popular though now shuttered site that, in its heyday, was ground zero for file-sharing. The suit doesn't specify an amount of damages, but does say that the studios should be entitled to $150,000 per copyright infringement, as well as profits earned by Megaupload.
Speed of Technology Confounds Wall St. Regulators
April 08, 2014
Michael Lewis did not do the securities industry any favors with the publication of his new book, Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt. His portrayal of how investment banks use high-frequency trading to leverage the few additional milliseconds this technology provides to grab stocks at optimal prices appears to have been a factor behind federal agency decisions to investigate this activity.
Lessons Learned from Mozilla's Edgy Eich Episode
April 07, 2014
It seems fair to say that we here in the Linux blogosphere are no strangers to difficult topics, but over the past few weeks FOSS fans have been struggling with what may be one of the trickiest yet. It is, of course, the matter of Brendan Eich. Cofounder of Mozilla, creator of JavaScript, Mozilla CTO for years and then CEO for just 10 days, Eich's term at the helm was cut short as a result of a firestorm of protest.
Americans Distrust Tech Companies
April 07, 2014
The steady stream of reports on government surveillance of Americans has taken a toll on the image of high-tech companies, according to a Harris poll. More than two-thirds of Americans -- 67 percent -- feel technology companies violate their users' trust by helping the government spy on its citizens, suggests the poll of 2,000 consumers, which was sponsored by ESET.
Smartphone Tracking: How Close Is Too Close?
April 04, 2014
There you are, strolling down the coffee and tea aisle at the supermarket when you get an alert on your smartphone that you can get extra points in the store's reward program if you purchase a certain brand of coffee. Are you annoyed that you have been tracked with such precision that the merchant knows not only that you are in the store -- but also which food aisle you are in?
Eich Falls on Sword for Mozilla
April 04, 2014
Mozilla Foundation cofounder Brendan Eich -- whose recent appointment as CEO of subsidiary Mozilla Corp. sparked an uproar -- on Thursday stepped down from the post in a bid to keep the company viable. Foundation cofounder and CEO Mitchell Baker painted the move as a return to the foundation's core principles, noting that Eich made the decision "for Mozilla and our community."
Net Brass Calm Solons' Woes Over 'Internet Giveaway'
April 04, 2014
The lords of the Internet and the Obama administration this week sought to calm congressional fears that the U.S. was planning to give control of the Web to foreign powers. At a public hearing held by the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Fadi Chehad, president and CEO of ICANN, and NTIA Administrator Lawrence E. Strickling argued to get the U.S. out of the Internet governance business.
Net Neutrality Wins Tough Battle in European Parliament
April 03, 2014
The European Parliament on Thursday approved new Net neutrality rules. Net neutrality, both in the EU and in the U.S., refers to the concept of requiring ISPs to treat all traffic the same regardless of its source. In Europe, that means ISPs such as Vodafone or Deutsche Telekom can't deliver content from competitive providers of, say, online videos, via slower pipes or make them pay more.
T-Mobile Won't Have BlackBerry to Kick Around Any More
April 03, 2014
BlackBerry has decided to part ways with T-Mobile. "BlackBerry has had a positive relationship with T-Mobile for many years," said CEO John Chen. "Regretfully, at this time, our strategies are not complementary and we must act in the best interest of our BlackBerry customers." BlackBerry hopes to work with T-Mobile when the two parties have common business goals once again, Chen added.
Money Talks in Smartphone Kill Switch Debate
April 02, 2014
The notion of a smartphone kill switch has received considerable attention in recent months, but new research spells out in plain financial terms some fresh arguments in favor of the idea. A kill switch essentially is technology built into a smartphone that would allow it to be deactivated if it were lost or stolen, thereby safeguarding the legitimate owner's data.
With Eich Appointment, Mozilla Jumps From Frying Pan Into Fire
April 01, 2014
A controversy involving Mozilla's new CEO, cofounder Brendan Eich, has inspired more than 70,000 people to sign a petition demanding he reverse his anti-gay stance or step down. The trouble began last week when gay developer Hampton Catlin, CEO of Teamrarebit.com, announced his opposition to Eich's appointment. Eich had donated $1,000 to Proposition 8, California's anti-gay marriage amendment.
April Schools' Day: School Canceled Thanks to IT System Hack
April 01, 2014
Well, an A for creativity. In Australia, someone penetrated a high school's IT system and penned text messages and emails to parents saying that the school had been badly damaged by a fire and was not fit for students. There was no truth to the message, however -- just a bit of April Fools' Day shenanigans. An unknown person apparently wiggled into the school's IT systems Tuesday morning.
Apple, Samsung Start New Round in Koh's Courtroom
April 01, 2014
Jury selection began Monday in the latest lawsuit between Apple and Samsung, being heard before Judge Lucy Koh in a United States District Court in San Jose, Calif. Apple is seeking about $2 billion in damages from Samsung for infringing its patents on smartphone and tablet technology, while Samsung is countersuing for about $7 million for two patents it claims Apple has infringed.
Japan to Fire Off Emails in Event of Incoming Missile
March 31, 2014
Starting April 1, Japan's Fire and Disaster Management Agency will send email alerts to residents' phones should North Korea start lobbing missiles. The messages would be sent using the nation's already-functional J-Alert, a free system designed to notify people about earthquakes and tsunamis. The missile-warning service is aimed specifically at those who use NTT Docomo, KDDI au and Softbank Mobile devices.

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